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Lt. gov.’s job could be cut

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By Jay Miller

SANTA FE — Are lieutenant governors really necessary? State Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino, a Democratic candidate for the position, notes that the job description isn’t very interesting.

Preside over the Senate, break tie votes and stand in when the governor is out of state, the senator said, adding that one should not dare do anything serious. Just stay ceremonial, he says.

Ortiz y Pino, 67, says for himself, it would be the capstone of his career, which he would use to advocate for New Mexico’s families. “I’m not running for governor in eight years,” he said.

His implication is that the other seven Republican and Democrat candidates are doing just that. He’s likely not far from wrong and may be spot on.

So why else would anyone want to run for lieutenant governor? Contrary to what we hear the candidates say, they aren’t going to be part of a team helping achieve the governor’s goals.

Newspaper endorsements of lieutenant governor candidates use the same kind of language, assuming there is something the lieutenant governor can do.

Actually the lieutenant governor was never intended to do anything other than the constitutional duties that Ortiz y Pino enumerated. It isn’t difficult to preside over the Senate. Just follow the Senate rules of order.


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